By Philip G Samaan, Professor, Southern Adventist University, Collegedale, Tennessee
Summary: As human beings, we often crave recognition. We have this innate need to be recognized. Sitting at His feet will take care of this craving for recognition. When we experience Jesus, we need no other recognition. There is peace; there is contentment in the heart when we are recognized for having been with Him.
A man prayed, So far today, God, I’ve done all right. I haven’t gossiped. I haven’t lost my temper. I haven’t been greedy or grumpy. I haven’t been nasty or self- centered. Lord, I’m really pleased with myself. I’m glad about that. But in a few minutes, God, I’m going to get out of bed and then I’m going to need a lot of help. Thank you. We all need a lot of help from the Lord. Not only the minute we get out of bed, but also when we go to work each morning. Not just right for the moment, but in the real world where the rubber meets the road. People today need the Lord.
In Luke 6:40, Jesus tells us how much we need Him to help us make an impact on people’s lives. He says A disciple is not above his teacher, but everyone who is fully trained will become like his teacher. Students learn from the teacher, children from parents. Jesus is the expert teacher. And we as students come to Him, willing to learn, submitting ourselves to Him, opening our hearts to Him so we may receive His instructions. Only by beholding Him, will we become changed in His image.
Not above the teacher
Anyone submissive to Christ is qualified to enter the School of Christ. The School of Christ is much better than universities such as Harvard or Yale where you have to produce proof of your qualifications to be accepted. With Jesus, your greatest qualification is not a high grade point average. It’s not a great work of research. Your greatest recommendation is simply your need for Him, and an open heart to Him: Lord, I’m submissive to you. Please train me. I really want to be a trainee. I don’t want to go ahead of you. I don’t want to be above you. I want you to be above all. I want you to be in charge. A disciple is not above his teacher. The teacher is the leader.
Aren’t you glad that Jesus knows what He’s doing? Because He knows what he’s doing in this confusing world, we feel safe and confident to follow Him. We don’t feel this confidence in following human leaders. That’s what He says in the previous verse. Can the blind lead the blind? Will they not both fall into the ditch? There’s so much blindness in this world. There are people who are blind and don’t know it. Jesus is the light of the world. He knows where He’s going because He is the way, the truth, and the light. We’ll never fall in the ditch when we follow Him. And that’s why verse 40 makes so much sense after He paints a picture of darkness, of blindness, of falling into ditches on either side of the road. Jesus is saying to you, Now I am the teacher. I want to train you. I want to fully train you. Work with me. Open your heart to me. Be a trainee. You could qualify simply by opening your heart to Me.
When we open our hearts to Him, He will fully train us. The result is a cooperative effort between the divine and the human. This union is dynamite. There is no limit to the usefulness of one who puts self aside and unites himself with the power of God. We will be like the teacher. The greatest spiritual product we can have, the greatest spiritual accomplishment is to help people by the grace of God to become like Jesus. Can you think of a greater goal? Can you think of a greater purpose to exist in this world but to become like Jesus and to help others become like Jesus? A disciple is not above his teacher, but everyone who is fully trained will become like his teacher.
Center of life
A tired father was stretched out in front of the television. His son, who was bored, kept bothering him. Not wanting to be bothered, the father cut up a map of the world into a jigsaw puzzle for the boy to put together. Aware that his son did not know what the map was supposed to look like, he was certain this project would keep the boy busy for a long time. What he did not know, however, was that on the back of the map was a beautiful picture of Jesus that his son was very familiar with. So the boy took these pieces, and instead of being preoccupied with the broken pieces of the world, beheld the face of Jesus. The father exclaimed, How could you have done this in such a short time? How could you have put the pieces of the broken map together so soon?
Daddy, I didn’t look at the broken world. I looked at the face of Jesus. When I put the face of Jesus together the world came together. When we focus on Jesus, the broken pieces of our lives are put together.
When once the gaze is fixed upon Jesus, life finds its center--Education, p 297. Does your life have a center at this moment? The late Frank Sinatra was known for his song, I Did it My Way. That seems to describe our culture as a people. Independence and self-sufficiency. We want to do things our own way. And that also is a reason why this nation is so great--Because we take the initiative, we work hard, we’re creative. This is wonderful; however, when it comes to the spiritual realm we need to do it Christ’s way. Christ’s method alone will give true success in reaching people--Ministry of Healing, p 143.
There’s another song that goes Oh what a wonderful morning. Oh what a beautiful day. I’ve got this wonderful feeling. Everything’s going my way. Sometimes we think we can find happiness by things going our way. But real joy comes from things going Christ’s way. So I invite you to follow Christ who is the Way, the Truth, and the Life. Let’s do it and go it Christ’s way--Because real fulfillment, real joy, comes from submitting ourselves to the training of Jesus and then becoming like Jesus. He knows the way. He is the way. He knows what he is doing.
In Luke 6:40 Jesus said to his disciples If you submit yourselves to me, if you allow Me to fully train you, you will become like Me. Did the disciples actually become like Jesus? Acts 4:13 gives us the answer. Observing John and Peter reaching out to and making an impact on others, people recognized them for something--They took notice of them. They recognized them as having been with Jesus. What are we recognized for?
As human beings, we often crave recognition. We have this innate need to be recognized. Sitting at His feet will take care of this craving for recognition. When we experience Jesus, we need no other recognition. There is peace, there is contentment in the heart when we are recognized for having been with Him. What more recognition do we need? Besides recognition, we sometimes crave positions. The highest position we can reach is sitting at the feet of Jesus and learning from Jesus. In biblical culture, sitting at the feet of a teacher, meant you were submissive, that you wanted to be teachable. Standing up on our feet to speak is quite the opposite from sitting at His feet to listen. When Jesus speaks, when Jesus teaches, we listen. When Jesus comes to share with us His expertise, we allow His wisdom and knowledge to infiltrate our life.
A little girl wanted to give her mother a gift. Deciding on a flower, she walked the fields and found a beautiful, little wild rose. Holding it tightly in her little hand, she ran to her mother. With excitement she opened her hand to give her mother this beautiful rose. But the rose was crushed. Mommy, I’m sorry! The rose is broken. Her mother responded, Sweetheart, it’s beautiful. It’s wonderful. Roses smell much better when they’re broken. My friends, let your hearts be broken in reaching out to others. Let your hearts be broken like the rose. Humbly sit at the feet of Jesus and say Lord, forgive me. Finally I realize that sitting at your feet is the highest position I can ever reach. And Lord Jesus, help me to be broken and to know that I don’t need to crave recognition in this world--that being recognized by you, being recognized by others as having been with you is the greatest recognition of all.
Another rose, the Rose of Sharon, was broken on Calvary to fill the whole world with the sweet fragrance of the good news. God invites us to take up our little wild roses and allow them to be broken so that our lives can be made fragrant by His fragrance. Let us diffuse that fragrance in our world. May the aroma of the broken Rose of Sharon diffuse your life, and may His fragrance fill our life so that when others see us, talk to us, rub shoulders with us, they will recognize us as indeed having been with Jesus.